Thursday, October 22, 2009

I think I AM doing my job, sir.

Today on the way home from Izzfest grocery shopping I was stopped at a red light. I had my windows rolled down, enjoying the beautiful day, when the corner “Homeless Vet” started walking towards me. I didn’t want to be the jackass rolling up her window, so I just tolerated the rising anxiety.

“Hello there ma’am, how’s your day going?” he asked. “Good, thanks,” I replied. “Do you happen to have a dollar or two,” he asked. My anxiety rising, I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any cash.” Shaking his head, he said, “It’s okay. I’ve done my job, now you are doing yours.” Nervous and guilty, I started fiddling with the radio. He lingered at my window until the light finally turned green and I drove off.

It wasn’t until I turned left that I started to get pissed and have my George Costanza moment, thinking of all the things I wish I would have said. Had I had it to do all over again (with bigger balls, of course) I would have said “You’re right. I AM doing my job. I’ve just spent a shot-ton of money for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. I don’t have any money to give you because I’ve spent my last dime on birthday presents, brisket, eggs and fucking expensive-ass jelly beans that match the color of the Seuss theme. And don’t look at me that way. I’m responsible for feeding 30+ people on Saturday. People that have taken time out of their busy schedules to come celebrate with us. People that have fed us, people that have listened to our woes over the last 5+ years and people that are working just as hard as I am to get by.” I would have continued saying, “I appreciate your service to our country, but believe it or not, due to that service you should have a lot more benefits than I do at this very moment and I really wish you’d take the opportunity to explore those benefits as opposed to making me feel so damn guilty for not having a dollar bill on me. Thank you and have a nice day.” Next time I think I’ll just be that asshat that rolls up their window…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bad boys bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Come to Austin!

So there we were, Chris and I coming home from an impromptu night out of Pictionary and Sweet Tea Vodka’s with friends. We drove on to 35 South from St. John’s, a drive we’ve driven a hundred times by now. We were absorbed in a rather serious examination of our relationship when a Chevy Tahoe almost sideswiped us. “Son-of-a-bitch,” Chris cussed, before slowing down to let the Tahoe get ahead of us. It was then that we noticed he was drunk. Really, really, really drunk.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that this same scene played out before us. Again, coming home from the same friend’s house at the same time of night (1:45am). And just like last time, we dialed 911. It didn’t take long to realize that this guy was far drunker than the last. As I talked to a 911 operator, the guy swerved across all three lanes of traffic, barely missing several cars. “I’m not kidding,” I told the operator, “this guy is going to kill someone if you don’t get an officer here soon.” We made this call at the intersection of 35 South and 8th. The operator assured us she’d inform the police and dispatch someone immediately.

Meanwhile, drunk-driver is swerving across lanes, slowing down to 20 m.p.h. and then speeding up again. Chris and I both agreed that we would follow him until the police came because we were worried that he would hit someone and help would be needed. So away we go down 35, waiting for the police. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. At several points along the way it appeared he was going to exit, only to veer back onto the highway. And there we were, veering with him (albeit far more cautiously). By this time, 8 (or so) minutes had gone by and I called 911 again. I gave all the information again (only this time reading his license plate the “police way” – saying 125-Victor Charlie 9), and again expressing how crazy this guy was driving. “We are going to follow him, because this is not going to end well,” I tell the operator. “That would not be advisable,” she says, “you will become a liability.” Exasperated I say, “then you need to get someone out here quickly before he kills someone.”

Finally drunk-driver made a hasty exit onto William Cannon (about 10 miles down the road for those non-Austinites). We follow and suddenly see 2 police cars speeding down the exit ramp behind us. “Finally,” we both yell. Chris turns on his hazards, pulls over and rolls down the window to motion to the Tahoe. And just as quickly, both cop cars speed right by us as drunk-driver takes off through the light. “Are you fucking kidding me?” Chris yells. And off we go to follow. We drove down the feeder to Slaughter (where we witness him driving off the road, completely onto the grass, then back on to the road), then follow him into the SouthPark Meadows shopping center and right into a Jack In The Box drive-through where he abruptly stops. I call 911 again, informing them of his location (along with repeating everything for a 3rd time). Again, they say they’ll send an officer out. And again, we wait.

4 minutes into waiting (because now I’m timing this shit), we see a security guard driving around the Walmart parking lot. We flag him down and inform him of the situation. At the same time we notice that cars are not able to access the drive-through because drunk-driver has apparently passed out in his car. We wait another 5 minutes (with another cop car driving right past us), before someone manages to flag down an officer who happened to be at the Whataburger next door. Turns out, she had received no calls. As we were giving our statement, she asked why we didn’t call 911. “We did – 3 times!” we said emphatically. She then said they would attempt to “find our calls” and attach them to the report, “should this guy be arrested and taken to jail.” My jaw dropped a little and I said, “Oh no, you can’t let this guy get back in the car. Seriously. He will kill someone.” And she assured me it would be “taken care of.” We drove off, without seeing the outcome of the situation.

Seriously, is Austin having some kind of police officer shortage? This wasn’t some slightly drunken individual who swerved across a lane or two. This guy was all over the place. He passed out in a drive-through for fucks sake. It was 25 minutes from the time we made the first phone call to the time the officers finally showed up. 25 damn minutes! I dated a cop for a (very!) brief time when I was still living in Baytown, and their response time was supposed to be 4 minutes or less. Most cops could make it completely across town in 2 ½ minutes (I had the pleasure of witnessing this on one occasion), and per Wikipedia, Austin is only 7 times larger than Baytown. I mean, come on already.

Either way, Chris and I did our good deed for the evening. Thank goodness he didn’t run over anyone along the way. Though, had he, I would have been prepared with my fancy Emergency Roadside Kit complete with bright orange triangles. ‘Cause lord knows, the Austin cops would have needed them to find us…

Sunday, October 11, 2009

ode to friendship

At a time when I’m questioning a small number of friendships, I’m also experiencing a deep and huge appreciation for my true friends. The last couple of months have been trying for me. Old friendships are going sour. New friendships are being put to the ultimate test. And I find my compass spinning wildly.

But the love I have for my solid friends has grown exponentially. They have advised me well. They have loved me through it. They have fed me literally, mentally and emotionally. New friendships have grown deeper. Distant friendships have come through in a crunch. It upholds my idea of friendship at a time when I could be questioning the whole thing.

This isn’t Baytown. We aren’t stuck together based on environment and circumstance. We have chosen one another. Based on similar philosophies, lifestyles and goals. We have thrown down and mended. We have walked away and come back. We have torn down and built back up.

Being a friend is tough for me. I’ve admitted as much since coming to Austin. I’m flaky, I’m opinionated and I’m outspoken. I’m sometimes a hermit and goodness knows I struggle with the concept of being quietly supportive. But once I consider you a friend, I will be there for you on a deeper level. I may flake out on shopping, but I will stay up into the wee hours of the night helping you work out daddy or relationship issues. I will feed you, I’ll let you borrow my car and put a clean blanket and fluffy pillow on the couch for you. I will hold your hand when you need a hand to hold. I ask for nothing in return except for you to hold my hand when I am in need.

And my friends have been holding my hand a lot recently. It’s not lost at all on me. In fact, I am drawing strength from each and every one of them in different ways. Their calm, their wisdom, their wit, their grace and their fight. I am humbled by these friendships – something I’ve never experienced before. And it’s worth all the nuttiness to experience something so worthy. Thank you to the 100th power.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobody goes "full bad guy"

We all have patterns that we repeat in our lives. Many of those patterns we find ourselves in time after time, many of which cause the same disastrous results time after time. And yet, time after time, we refuse to recognize or change those patterns.

I have a pattern. And I recognize it. But changing it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Here’s my pattern: I walk around vocalizing my opinions all over the place. I’m open, I’m honest, I’m forthcoming. Eventually one of my opinions rub someone the wrong way and they attack. They don’t debate (I LOVE a good debate), they attack. And I defend. Somewhere in that defense I hurt their feelings and make them cry. It doesn’t matter how well thought out my defense is. It doesn’t matter that I tread lightly so as not to re-offend. I inevitably re-offend and I inevitably make them cry. It blows my mind that they cry because they so harshly attacked and so I come back with a soothing tone and try to “fix” the situation. Band-Aid applied, everyone is happy, rinse, repeat. I cannot begin to tell you how many times this situation has happened in my life, only to be repeated sometimes for years.

This particular situation happened again recently. And while I exhaustingly explained my actions to Chris, again, he simply said the following: “Do you know what your problem is? You never go full bad guy.” I laughed and said, “You never go full bad guy. Everybody knows that.” He explained that while I have conviction, I’m far too worried about what people think (which I deny, but then later realize that he is right.) I don’t want to be responsible for upsetting people, even if they are wrong and attacked in the first place. I’m “always playing defense, when I should be taking the offense.” He ended his explanation by saying “if this were Big Brother, you’d be going home while those other assholes would be staying.” Something about his analogy and movie misquote hit home with me. I finally got it and was able to see myself from an outsiders perspective (possibly because I LOVE to analyze Big Brother).

And if anybody should know, it’s Chris. He often goes “full asshole” and people love him for it (or despite it). But most of all, people know he has both conviction AND integrity. If you find yourself going up against Chris, you are forced to rethink your position because he so rarely gets involved. Or not. If you do not rethink your stance, he could give a shit. But he will not budge on his, nor will he apologize for it. And you will either love it or leave it (few leave it, frustrating me, but it has been known to happen). My problem is that I budge. I apologize for the way that YOU feel. I compromise my integrity. And by doing so, it allows people to feel luke-warm about me, and allows them to stick around to rinse and repeat. The real problem is that I talk a big game, but I’m a poor player. And I lose often. And after tonight’s pep-talk, I’ve decided to step it up. To stop compromising. To finally go “full bad guy” if need be. Because as we all know, nice gals never win.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

another day, another crazy obama email from family

This pretty much speaks for itself. While I love my family dearly, they are not the most politically correct group of people I've ever known. And oddly enough, it infuriates them when I call them on it (when I am calling you on political incorrectness, you KNOW you've done wrong). And yet I feel it's my duty to do so, while still loving them as my family. Bless their hearts. And no doubt my response to this email will start a small war (which will surely be blamed on Obama as well), but what can I say? I enjoy myself...

p.s. - Names have been changed to protect the ignorant.

On Oct 3, 2009, at 7:58 PM, d. wrote:
I was watching TBS and guess what I seen ? Obama doing a commercial for the George Lopez show ! We have wars in 2 countries , our economy is in the tank . Unemployment is at a 30 YEAR HIGH , Iraq is working on a nuclear bomb and Obama is working on a commercial ! This is the same black mother fucker who only spent only 20 min in 9 months with his top General . Hell , he spent more time on the Olympics and look at what a good job he did there ( eliminated in the first round ) . This is kind of thing that will give me a heat attack ! I'm so freaking pissed , I'm having a hard time sending this e mail . I want anybody that voted for this clown to email back and tell me what he has done right ! I'll expect the email around the time hell freezes over and monkeys fly out my ass .


Subject: Re: Somebody explain this !

I don't usually respond to these emails (really, what is the point), but for the record, he was not President of the United States at the time he recorded this commercial. It was recorded back in 2008 when he was a candidate. The same span of time when Sarah Palin was doing all of those stints on Saturday Night Live...

As for what he has done right, well without doing further research and just pulling off the top of my head I have a list of what I think he's done right. But that's just me. And I live in Austin, so I guess I probably don't count for much:

* He reversed a Bush signed order so that stem-cell research would be allowed and government funded.

* He reversed an executive order that refused the press to be present when our fallen soldier's caskets arrive back in the country. The new order allows the families the right to make a decision on if the media should be present or not.

* He expanded loan programs for small businesses.

* He expanded eligibility for the State Children's Health Insurance Fund (which saved your niece the first year of her life).

* Banned lobbyist gifts to executive employees.

* Extended unemployment, as well as expanding funding for Public Health Practitioners.

* He signed a bill to ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

* He froze the salaries for top White House staff members.

Granted, whether or not these things are considered a "success" lies in the eyes of the beholder. I, personally, do not feel like the "wars in 2 countries", the economy OR unemployment lies solely on him. There are those of us who could make a decent argument that Bush Jr., corporate greed, or personal irresponsibility should be to blame.

One last tip. You should probably refrain from using the term "black mother fucker" in the future. It only serves to negate your argument by making you look like a racist (and nobody supports a racist. Not in public anyway). While I'm sure you have very valid points, you don't want to lose your voice due to racism. Instead, how about "liberal mother fucker", or "worthless mother fucker", or even "socialist mother fucker" (which is actually completely inaccurate for anyone who is truly educated on Socialism). And by all means, do not have a heart attack over it. The Republicans need your vote.

Will I be seeing the monkeys flying out of your ass during my next visit? If so, I'd like to prepare Izzy for such a site. Her only reference to flying monkeys is the Wizard of Oz and they most definitely were NOT flying out of asses.

Lots of love,